Wednesday, April 7, 2010

What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is a kind of dementia and a brain dysfunction impairing an individual’s ability to perform their usual daily activities. The most typical form of dementia among the elderly is Alzheimer’s disease. The illness affects the parts of the brain that controls thought, memory, and language. Sadly, scientists still aren’t able to pinpoint the precise factors behind the illness or a successful cure, though many remain hopeful as they learn more about the condition. It is surmised that in the States alone, 4.5 million suffer with Alzheimer’s disease. Though Alzheimer’s disease isn’t a standard part of aging, it most frequently develops in individuals that are over sixty years old. The chance of developing the illness increases as we age. Younger people have also been known to develop Alzheimer’s disease, though it is a lot less common.

The Illness itself was found and named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer in 1906 when he spotted major changes in the brain tissue of a female who died of a psychological sickness. These changes consisted of unusual clumps, which today are called amyloid plaques and tangled bundles of fibers now known as neurofibrillary tangles. During intensive research scientists have also found that nerve cells die. The links between nerve cells are disrupted in the areas of the brain that are critical to memory and other psychological capabilities. It has additionally been revealed that there are much lower levels of certain chemicals that carry messages between the nerve cells.

These conditions will result in impaired thinking and upset memory for the individual. Sadly, scientists are not able to confirm what precisely causes Alzheimer’s disease, though they think many factors can affect each person in alternative ways.

Since the quantity of people with the illness doubles after the age of sixty, age is believed to be a major risk factor. It’s also thought genetics is another vital risk as when the development of Alzheimer’s disease has been studied in younger people it’s been found that a close member of the family has also had Alzheimer’s disease. Though there appears to be a big link in family history for early onset Alzheimer’s, the more widely found type of late onset appears not to have a conspicuous inheritance pattern.

It’s also thought many risk factors may engage with one another to help with the development of Alzheimer’s. A gene that produces a protein known as apolipoprotein E (ApoE) and aids in carrying cholesterol in the blood has been identified as a heavy risk factor, even though it is estimated only 15% of individuals have the form that increases the danger of developing Alzheimer’s. Scientists believe there could be other genes that increase the chance of developing the illness, although these haven’t yet been found.

The symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease may not be obvious at first due to their slow development. They generally commence with mild forgetfulness and difficulty recollecting recent events. You might notice that the patient starts forgetting names of those close to them. If they’re older you might confuse this with age-related memory change.

Their abilities to solve straightforward math problems also starts to fade and as the illness continues to develop the symptoms become more apparent. Those in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s disease forget how to do everyday activities like dressing themselves, using the bathroom, or brushing their hair.

Their language deteriorates as they become unable to think clearly. Naturally this becomes exasperating for the individual and depression, nervousness, and aggressiveness may result. Alzheimer’s disease is mostly slow in its developments and there is presently no treatment which can stop its development. Sometimes sufferers live from eight to ten years following a diagnosis, though this varies from individual to individual and some have been seen to live as long as twenty years. There is much that is still to be learned about Alzheimer’s.

1 comment:

  1. Alzheimer's disease has a tremendous impact at any age. With new treatment its more important than ever that you recognize early symptoms and get help as soon as possible.

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